Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meeting Doodle #10: NINJA!

It's such a shame when ninja attack an innocent old man. On the other hand, it appears that someone stole the ninja's katanas. Maybe it was this same old men. GO GET HIM NINJA!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Funny commercial from India

Krista is giving a talk on contextualization tomorrow at Xtrack, so I'm looking around at some interesting cultural clips and things along those lines. I stumbled across this charming and funny commercial and thought I would share:

Matt Mikalatos with Ambassador Speakers

The good folks at Ambassador Speakers Bureau and Literary Agency recently sent out an email letting people know that I am available to speak at various churches and conferences and so on. They wrote this rather flattering paragraph:

"Author of the forthcoming Tyndale/Barna book, Imaginary Jesus, Matt understands the dialect of our culture and will help you discover fresh tools for evangelism and outreach. He is passionate about a vibrant Christianity that comes with the discovery of the authentic Jesus. Matt will ignite your passion for evangelism and will do it with humor, power and a passion for friends, associates and neighbors who have not yet found the life Jesus offers. Matt has been a writer for the Wittenberg Door and is terminally funny. He has also been a contributor to Discipleship Journal published by The Navigators and other periodicals."
Aw, shucks! I'm blushing! I'm really excited about the opportunity to speak in some new places and to have a chance to talk with more people about Jesus. YEAH!

Click here to learn more about MATT MIKALATOS at AmbassadorSpeakers.com It's my "official bio" and some talk links.

Click here to learn more about MATT MIKALATOS at AmbassadorSpeakers.com

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sarah Kaufmann, Cheese Carving Lady

I met this lady the other day at a grocery store. She's a full time cheese sculptor. She said three people in the United States make their living from carving cheese sculptures. She goes to various grocery stores and events and makes sculptures. She said that next month she's doing a life-sized Neil Armstrong cheese statue in honor of the moon landing anniversary. Because the moon is made out of cheese.

Her favorite medium is cheddar because it's a soft cheese that people will sometimes eat after the event.

Several of you have requested sculptures of my head. I think this would be a viable option.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Meeting Doodles #9: On Fire!

About eight years ago, the story of Moses and the burning bush became increasingly important to me in my spiritual walk. As I started having deeper intimacy with Christ, this terrifying moment of Moses finding God's divine presence in the midst of the midnight desert hit home.

So I find myself drawing a burning bush every once in a while... it's a reminder to approach Him with reverence, to expect Him to speak, and to turn aside and investigate strange things, because they just may be a path into His presence.

Places I've had "burning bush" moments:

Hidden away in a stand of bamboo in China.

Walking the Oregon coastline on a foggy day.

Sunset in Joshua Tree.

How about you? Where has God met with you in unexpected ways and places?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Meeting Doodles #8: StrengthsFinder

My coaching group just went through our StrengthsFinder material and then we tried to figure out what our strengths themes would be... what our strengths would uniquely qualify us to do or be. Here are the results:

Dan Culbertson, zombie killer.

Matt Mikalatos, cage fighter.

Peter Hibbs, pony trainer.

I'll come back and list our strengths and why these unique strengths contribute to us moving toward these excellent vocations.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Smart Aleck Hollywood Movie Stars

Tonight we were out at "Taste of Western Europe" with the family, a party hosted by all the CCC people going through Xtrack who are from or headed to Western Europe. There was way too much truly excellent food and we had wonderful conversations with our many friends there. On the way out I told the kids to get ready to go like so...

Me: Okay, movie stars, get your shoes on.

A: Why did you call us movie stars?

Me: Because you're so beautiful.

Z: And you are the movie stars' servant.

Bike to Work Day

Today while I was out on my morning jog (!) I noticed a big tent up ahead, with food splayed out over the table. As I got closer I realized it was a big breakfast in honor of cyclists who were riding their bikes to work because it's bike to work day in Fort Collins, Colorado. Pancakes, bananas, milk and eggs were available for free to anyone who rides their bike to work, because we care about the environment.

But... breakfast is not available to the joggers. Never mind that we, too, are saving the environment by not driving. Never mind that we didn't even cause metal to be turned into a transportation conveyance. It's a perfect example of having a vision (SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT) and a tactic to move us along toward it (FREE BREAKFAST FOR BIKERS!) that loses the reason it existed in the first place (Let's go fill the van with food that was trucked in from all over the world and feed anyone on a bike... but not joggers).

It doesn't really matter because I don't like pancakes or bananas, I have my own milk and I can't eat eggs. So I guess I'll go jump in the shower so I can get in the car to drive to my meetings....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meeting Doodles #7: ROBOTS RULE!

One of the big things here at XTrack is my coaching group. This is where I get together with a couple of other guys and we talk about life and issues they might face overseas. We also spend a lot of time talking about the inevitability of the coming Robot Apocalypse and how we can survive it by pretending to be robots ourselves. This involves a great deal of stuffing emotions and saying "THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE" if someone asks about your emotions.

And here is a picture of us after the ROBOT UPRISING. On the far left you can see Dan Culbertson AKA CULBETRON. Next in line is Peter Hibbs, whose robot signifier is THE HIBBS 3000. You can see a single solitary tear coming down his cheek because of the unfeeling slaughter of the people who were not prepared for the coming of the robot army. As you can see MIKALATATRON is smiling like an idiot. This will probably be the end of him when the robots turn their sensors toward him. His last words will be DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUUUUUUUUUTE!

If your ocular sensors cannot see the detail of the picture above, double click for a closer view.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I haven't forgotten you

I have been a little busy getting back up to speed with my family as well as getting time with friends here at Xtrack.

But there is more to come at BHR. Topics to remind me of should I not cover them in the next few days:

* Father's Day gifts and time with the family

* A life-sized Neil Armstrong made of... cheese

* Copy Lines for Imaginary Jesus

* And so much more

As for now I am off to bed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Meeting Doodles #6: X Track Horizon

In a few minutes I'll be on the way to pick up Krista and the kids at the airport!

All the pieces of Xtrack are coming together nicely.

I noticed that for some reason all my recent Xtrack doodles have been horizontal rather than vertical. Strange.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I love you, World (in a strictly platonic sense)

I feel good tonight because tomorrow Krista and the kids will catch up with me in Colorado at long last! I am excited to see them! We've decided that this separation shall remain our longest one from here on out.

You know how sometimes you are so excited and happy that all is forgiven between you and the rest of the world? I feel like that.

I stumbled upon this picture by Scott Campbell that expresses it nicely.

If they can love each other, so can we all. Awwww, sweet Alien.

You can purchase Scott's art here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Captain America Alive Again... Now He Will Beat Up Some More Nazis

I'm glad to say that Captain America, who died some time ago, is coming back to life this July. You may recall that I predicted this EVEN DOWN TO THE TIMING (okay, I said July 4th and it comes out July 1st, whatever). This is why from now on you will refer to me as... THE INEXPLICABLE PROGNOSTICATOR!

And now, as if in celebration, I give you this classic Cap moment at left. You may recall last time I gave you a picture of Cap punching Hitler. Well, that was not humiliating enough! Now Cap has his faithful sidekick, Bucky (that's right, he's about twelve years old) crouch behind Hitler and then... HE SHOVES HIM! Ha ha ha! Oh, Captain America. I am sure you were a schoolyard bully when you were a kid, but it sure is funny when you do that to a Nazi.

And, an added bonus... I can use the tag "Hitler should be beaten up by a man in red white and blue pajamas and silly floppy boots" again! I am so pleased!

Meeting Doodles #5: Xtrack

As previously PROVEN BY SCIENCE! doodling helps you to concentrate. As if to show that I am paying Very Close Attention in my meetings (which have been excellent, by the way), I submit for your approval yesterday's meeting doodles:

Also, we are live streaming and then putting into archives our meetings this summer. If you're interested in Xtrack, cultural training and so on, send me an email and I'll get you the link and the password.

P.S. Since I am in meetings all summer I am taking doodle requests. I've already done one commission (Batman and Robin on a ladder hanging from a hot air balloon with Batman being bitten by a shark).

Monday, June 15, 2009

This ought to keep you busy

I am at work today, sitting in a room at a church and training people who are going overseas for three years or more in some skills for life overseas. I'm busy is what I am trying to tell you, people.

So here are a couple things to keep you occupied in the meantime:

1) The first three chapters of Don Miller's new book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years.

2) Go read a free short comic story.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen... G.K. Chesterton

According to my friend Matt Baugher, GK Chesterton died on June 14th in 1936. Chesterton was a celebrated wit, an apologist and a writer who routinely served up works of prophetic insight via his books, essays and letters. And he's very funny.

I still remember when I stumbled across my first Chesterton book and thought, "Why has the world been hiding the works of this man from me?" Here are a few of my favorite Chesterton books so you have a place to start if you're interested:

1) The Napoleon of Notting Hill. This is the story of a bored ruler in England who decides (as a joke) to make fanciful costumes, traditions and false histories for each neighborhood of London. What starts as a hilarious entertainment for him and the upper class takes an unexpected turn into drama when a young man named Adam Wayne (who has no sense of humor) takes it upon himself to start a war among the neighborhoods of London. I love this book... I've probably read it five times. One of the most amazing things is how perfectly Chesterton balances comedy and drama in this novel so that you are laughing one moment and profoundly moved in another.

2) The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare One of Chesterton's most famous novels, this is the story of police officer Gabriel Syme, who takes the name Thursday and infiltrates a society of anarchists. It isn't long, however, before he begins to suspect that some of the anarchists are undercover cops... and some of his fellow policemen are actually undercover anarchists.

3) I've always been fond of The Ball And The Cross, which is the story of an enraged Christian who throws a brick through the window of a man who runs an atheist newspaper. The atheist is pleased to have some attention (society at large ignores him as much as they ignore the Christian) and they happily decide to have a duel to the death. But they keep getting interrupted and eventually become friends and have adventures together.

4) Last fiction I'll mention is the The Father Brown Stories. Father Brown is a priest who has a nose for mystery. In fact, he loves mysteries and the insights he gains into the nature of humanity, God and the universe while solving the worst crimes of the human heart. Some of the stories don't even involve crimes as such, but Father Brown is such a delightful companion you won't even care. I'm particularly fond of the stories involving his nemesis, whom he is trying not only to capture but also convert to Christ.

5) If you've not read or heard of The Everlasting Man it's a sort of spiritual history of humanity. C.S. Lewis called it the contemporary book that had helped him most in his spiritual journey, and, in fact, it played a decisive role in his conversion from atheist to Christian. A great book.

6) Orthodoxy is Chesterton's own spiritual history of how he moved from non-believer to Catholic Christianity. It's beautifully written and well worth your time.

Well, that's enough reading to keep you all busy today. Many of these books are also available for free download on the web here. But you can buy these books without hesitation, they won't disappoint.

If I know the friends here at BHR I'm guessing there are plenty of people with strong opinions about Chesterton to share in the comments. Opine away, my friends... would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Seven Ate Nine

There is a lot of waiting involved in publishing. Everything takes a long time. In actual fact, I think the process has been faster than typical for me, but it still feels like you're caught in a slow motion scene in a movie.

So, while I've been waiting for the deal with Imaginary Jesus to come together, the contract to be finished, editors assigned, et cetera, I've started on a second book. I finished up chapter nine this morning:

12357 / 50000 words. 25% done!

One quarter of the way through book two! You may notice that I dropped my word count by ten thousand. It seems that with the sort of book I write everyone would prefer it to be a little shorter, so I'm writing with that in mind for book two. The quarter marks are nice ones because now I can say, "Just do that three more times and it's done!"

Today's a day off from work. I'm planning to get out and do a little exercise, then go hang out at "Taste of Fort Collins" with Team Hibbs. Then I have a LOT of seminary homework to do. So much of my day will be sitting in virtual class.

Friday, June 12, 2009

You know you want a goat tower

This is the perfect answer for people (like me) who live in a suburb but want to have goats in the backyard.

Remember... my birthday is coming soon!

You can find more information about goat towers here, the same place I found out about them!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My book, Imaginary Jesus, will be published by Barna Books!

I've just accepted an offer from the fine people at Tyndale and Barna Books for them to publish my book, Imaginary Jesus. Many effusive thanks to Wes Yoder, my agent at Ambassador Literary, without whom this would not have happened. And especially to God and the Real Jesus who has been throwing His weight around to make all this happen.

Here's the sort of thing you might read on the back of the book one day a long time from now (taken from my book proposal):

Sitting in a coffee shop with Jesus, Matt Mikalatos realizes that the pleasant, robed man across the table is not the real Jesus at all. During Matt’s attempt to destroy the imposter and find the real Jesus, Imaginary Jesus escapes. Now the Lamb is on the lam and Matt is on a quest to find the living, breathing Christ. With the help of the apostle Peter, a talking donkey and the mysterious Motorcycle Guy, he chases Jesus across the city of Portland, determined to exorcise his imaginary friend. A fast-paced, hilarious book, Imaginary Jesus explores what it means to be in relationship with a physically absent but relationally present Jesus.

As you can imagine, I am thrilled by the opportunities this represents and the chance to influence and entertain people with this book. I'll keep you updated as I have more information that I'm allowed to share....

P.S. People are already asking whether this means Krista and I will leave staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. Not at all! We have no plans to leave CCC. Krista and I will continue to need your financial support for our ministry. The primary benefits of this book being published are not financial, but rather a chance to see our ministry influence expanded.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Rhett and Link vs. Taco Bell

Through the miracle of internet technology I have scheduled this to appear on the blog while I'm in class at Xtrack. I had lunch with some of the guys yesterday and this video came up. It's by Rhett and Link and I enjoyed this immensely. Have fun.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


First of all, a very HUGE THANKS to Ken, who sent me a new phone to replace the one I baptized. Gracias, senor. Today was my first full day with the phone and I am starting to figure it out. In the meantime if you send me a text or call me you might want to say who you are... I can't tell otherwise. Unless, of course, I recognize your voice.

Second, thanks to Shane Spell, who sent me this jogging program to help me not to die while running around.

Third, I've started reading Little Pilgrim's Progress to the kids at night. They really like it. They've been begging me to read more chapters, and we've settled into a pretty good rhythm of three chapters a night. Should last us about a month at that speed!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The conversation my brain and my body had with one another this morning

Brain: Good morning!

Body: Ugh. Shhh.

Brain: Let's get up and do something fun!

Body: Mmmaybe. Like what.

Brain: Something really fun. Like... you know... jogging.


Brain: You'll feel better when you get in shape.

Body: How many times have we been jogging? Twice? We didn't like it then, why should we like it now.

Brain: Well, guess what? I'm the brain and I'm in charge. Get to it!

(a few minutes later, on the road)

Body: *huff* *huff*

Brain: This is going to pay off in the future.

Body: Shut... up... brain.

Brain: You're going to feel great!

Body: Okay. We've run about thirty steps now. Need to rest.

Brain: Keep going!

Body: If you want to meet Jesus right now I will keep running, but otherwise we have to stop before I explode.

Brain: Fine. But we're going again tomorrow.

Body: I want the old brain back.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Brief Moment of Open-Hearted Sincerity

I gained nearly five pounds in Hawaii. I’m not sure how this happened. It seems that the active lifestyle of boogie boarding, swimming and so on was completely counter-balanced by eating ice cream at Lappert’s every single day before going out to dinner.

On the way to church this Sunday I was telling Krista that these five pounds seemed almost like a metaphor for discipline in my life. I feel out of shape in my physical and spiritual life, as well as in things that I love and care about but take extra effort… things like seminary and my writing. Additionally, I’ve been thinking about my new little girl (who should be joining us on August 7th at 7:30 am if all goes according to schedule) and how if I wanted to live until she’s my age, I’ll be SEVENTY YEARS OLD! When I was fifteen I thought that sixty would be a good target age for a full life, but I’m re-evaluating.

We talked about this for a while and I told Krista how I was making plans to reverse some of this and re-engage with self-discipline in my life… get back into deeper relationship with God, re-discipline my body, schedule in time for the secondary priorities in life like seminary and writing.

Then we went into church and Pastor John’s message was this. Listen to the excellent sermon called "Introducing an Outlier Life." It’s all about the need for discipline, why it’s necessary, how it works and why our church will be looking all summer at the spiritual disciplines. Krista kept leaning over and saying, “God’s really trying to hammer this one home, isn’t He?” I kept praying and saying, "Okay, enough already, I get it!"

One of the things available at the end of John’s sermon were these blue bracelets that say HAGIOS on them (the Greek word for holiness). I felt it would be a good reminder of my commitment to get my life into shape this summer. I’ve never been much of a jewelry guy (with the notable exception of my wedding ring… lovingly fashioned to look precisely like the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings movies, though I’ve never tested it out in a fire and it appears that it has never, for instance, turned me invisible) so wearing this band for the summer is a little weird for me, which makes it a good reminder of why I’m wearing it, because it bothers me (if that makes sense).

So I’m working hard at these things. The weight issue is a mind-boggling one for me. I looked up my BMI (body mass index… I know, I had never heard of it, either) and apparently someone of my height should way 180 pounds. WHAT?!?! I haven’t weighed that little since high school when I returned from being a counselor at a summer camp in Alaska where we ran, hiked, swam, kayaked, canoed, shot arrows and played running games all day. I tried not to eat the food because it was almost completely recycled Soylent Green and the bathroom was about a half mile walk from my cabin (if you ate the camp food you discovered that the bathroom was a half mile away even if you ran). I don’t know if it’s possible for me to get to that weight, but I thought what the heck let’s give it an experimental try. That means losing thirty pounds. I am thinking of sawing off one of my arms to give me a jump start. Updates as they are available.

And now you are thinking, Mikalatos, why do you share these things with us? And I can only say that when I am typing my hands are too busy to eat anything. I prefer being in disciplined shape. I feel better physically. I feel spectacular emotionally and spiritually. I enjoy life more when I am writing regularly instead of “when I can squeeze it in”. I just don’t like all the hard work and organization.

And that is all I have to say about that. Okay, stop looking at this post I am getting embarrassed.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Travel Tips With Matt

Since summer is rapidly approaching, I thought it might be time for some travel tips. It's been some time since I shared any, so here are a few:

1) Cell phone signals are completely designed to drive people mad. They say, "Oh, I have four bars" or "I have full bars." Yeah, right. It doesn't matter. The phone still won't be able to make a call. A raincloud will block the magic wireless signal. A raccoon will sneeze and distract the Cell Phone technology. The only way that cell phone companies make full bars is when they drive people to drink. TIP: Be sure to write an angry letter to your phone company before you travel, then you can sign and send it in at your leisure.

2) It's really hard to tell how nice a hotel is online. Especially if by nice you mean "clean, no bed bugs, under $100". You might, for instance, arrive at your hotel to discover that it's in the back of a parking lot behind "Romantix Erotic Toys" and "Lotty's Restaurant, Lounge, and Liquor Store." You might also discover that the NO SMOKING signs on your floor are largely ignored. On the bright side, there are no bed bugs (you can check this by lifting the sheets and looking for tiny pinprick blood stains on the mattress). TIP: Bolt the door.

3) If the Department of Transportation thinks to install a permanent sign that says "Severe Weather Warning Next 20 Miles" you should expect to experience some severe weather. Don't say things like, "I think we're going to beat the storm" when you see the cinematically dramatic black clouds zeroing in on you. Also, when the HAIL starts to beat your car like a drum at mile 21, realize that this is because you said you were going to beat the storm. TIP: When the visibility drops to two feet because of the thick hail and the road is flooded and you can't see the dividing lines on the road anymore, feel free to roll down your window if it helps you to see better. DO NOT however, stick your face out the window, especially if you are going 75 MPH. This will hurt.

4) I understand the deeply felt need to go to a gas station that has a name like "SMOKER'S FRIEND." But you should know in your heart that it will not be worth it. TIP: If a surly attendant comes over to pump your gas or something, don't say, "Hey, a good slogan for your gas station would be LIGHT UP BEFORE YOU FILL UP." He is cranky enough already.